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Rediff News  All News  » News » Antony should apologise for LoC remarks: Advani

Antony should apologise for LoC remarks: Advani

August 07, 2013 16:23 IST

Accusing Defence Minister A K Antony of making a "false" statement about the killing of five soldiers in Poonch, Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani on Wednesday said he should apologise as his remarks were intended to "exonerate" Pakistan.

"I hold that what the defence minister has said in the House is intended only to exonerate the Pakistan government and absolve it of the responsibility of killing five Indian soldiers," Advani told reporters in Parliament House.

Asked why the defence minister would make a contradictory statement, the BJP leader said, "I have a feeling that the government wants to continue talks with Pakistan."

He claimed that if the talks would continue in a situation in which he Pakistan Army is named for the killings, the nation would feel outraged.

Terming the incident a "formal invasion", as the Pakistan Army personnel had entered India's "borders and killed Indian soldiers", Advani said he has suggested to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath that the statements of Antony and the defence ministry -- which blames Pakistan Army and terrorists for the attacks -- should be reconciled.

"The defence minister himself should tell the House what the truth is and apologise (and say) that what he said is false," said the BJP Parliamentary Party chief.

In reply to a question on whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should hold talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the forthcoming United Nations summit, Advani said, "This is no time for such talks."

BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has moved a Privilege Notice against Antony for misleading the House. Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar announced in the Lok Sabha that she has received the notice and would take appropriate action.

Advani faulted Antony's statement on two grounds. Reading from the statements issued by the defence minister and the one issued by the defence ministry, he said the latter has clearly held the Pakistan government and its army responsible.

"The minister has said 20 heavily armed men ambushed the Indian soldiers on our side of the LoC in the Poonch sector while the defence ministry said they were ambushed close to the border," Advani said.

He alleged that Antony has also contradicted the defence ministry, when he said "20 heavily armed terrorists along with people dressed in Pakistan Army uniforms" had killed the Indian soldiers, while his ministry had said a Border Action Team of the Pakistan Army had killed them.

Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj told Nath that there is difference in the two statements and the defence minister has given a "clean chit to Pakistan".

Advani said the army version also points out that the action of the Pakistani forces is a "likely consequence of the frustrations of terrorist Tanzeems (groups) and the Pakistan Army due to the elimination of 19 hardcore terrorists near the LoC and in Kashmir recently".

As many as 17 infiltration bids have also been foiled this year.

The senior leader said the BJP wants a clarification from Antony on the issue.

Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said there should be no talks between India and Pakistan.

"There is no atmosphere for talks. You (government) are enthusiastic about the talks, but people think otherwise. You cannot have attacks and talks at the same time," he said.

Flaying the contradictory statements made by the defence minister and the army, party leader Venkaiah Naidu said by making such statements, the government wants to give Pakistan an "escape route" and ensure that talks between the Indian and Pakistan prime ministers take place next month at the UN.

"If the Indian government toes the line of Pakistan, it is letting down the country and demoralising the army. The government must apologise for the blunder they have committed," he said.

Holding that the Pakistan Army was involved in the incident, he said, "The Indian government should take it (the killing of the soldiers) up with Pakistan at the highest level and convey to Pakistan that no talks will be held till you give up terror".

He said the development shows "utter confusion and irresponsibility" on the part of the government.

He also slammed some Congress leaders, who have sought to compare the killings along the LoC during the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance's regime with those during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance regime, saying, "The Congress should not politicise the issue".

"This concerns the unity of the nation. It should not be taken lightly" he said.

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